Normalcy is much like faith. Quiet and constant, simply knowing
That today too will slip into tomorrow, and it will be the same,
Only a little different. I think I loved boredom. The endlessness of it;
Which told me nothing, except that life goes on. I want to live
Faithfully like that, entirely bored, peeling mangoes after lunch
And losing my keys the third time in a row. I just want to live
Like that. I grew up all bored, watching the city grow with me.
Grow upwards and sideways, grow into all of us, just like that.
Lying down in the park lawn, I saw buildings pinned up against the sky.
How calmly then I believed in normal. And now, in these times
My mother calls me and reminds me to brush my teeth well.
I am thankful for these insignificant things. The mercy of it.
I wonder how it will happen. Will we wake one day to silence?
The streets dotted with limp tear gas shells and store shutters
Will have no answers. There will be no hum of telephone wires,
Or internet servers. Only the birds will sing, clear and fearless.
I will wonder what will happen to me, to us. To the half-halfs,
Signing new papers to prove our humanity. Which documents
Can make us pure again? But perhaps it will not happen like this.
Violence at its shrewdest is always slow. Like drifting off to sleep.
Today will slip into tomorrow again. And it will be the same,
Only a little different, except we can’t quite place our finger on it.
Each day collecting vague dread, and we will pray for it,
Yearn madly for the long boredom of a Sunday afternoon.
I don’t know how to hold this yearning. It is deep blue and frail,
A long horizon vanishing into grief. The night rolls in like this,
Deep blue and frail. I peer at my own face in the bathroom mirror,
I am searching for faith. I think it has drained away. Left quietly
Like light leaves at dusk. There is nothing else to do now.
So I stand over the sink and brush my teeth.
Anagha Smrithi is a documentary filmmaker and scholar at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty